Thursday, May 17, 2007
I went to Las Vegas for a music convention for a couple of days. It seemed that every step of the way, I was dealing with long queues. I waited in line to get my boarding pass. Again I waited to go through security. Since I was flying Southwest, I waited to board. I got off the plane and waited to catch a shuttle bus to the rental car. I went from there to a charity motorcycle ride where I waited in line to pick up my rental cycle and then my wrist band. Finally, I got to my hotel and I waited in line to register.
You could sense the agitation in the queues. We don't like waiting. We don't like the way the lines have been created willy nilly using chrome plated poles strung together by black nylon straps.
It all seemed so makeshift. Nothing seemed to take into account the human element. And then I thought about cattle. And then I thought about Dr. Temple Grandin.
Before Dr. Temple Grandin, lines for sending cattle off to slaughter were makeshift affairs. The cattle were panicky as a result. There would be injuries. Dr. Grandin changed all of that.
Somehow Dr. Grandin, who is autistic, was able to design cattle handling facilities that took into account the psychology of cattle. She was able to get inside the head of livestock and make designs that kept them calm. Her designs are used throughout the world. In North America almost half of all cattle are handled using a system she designed for meat plants. The cattle are calmer. The whole process is more humane.
If we put this much thought into queues for cattle, we should be able to some thought into queues for humans. It would be interesting to see what Dr. Grandin would come up with for airport security queues. My guess is that her designs would make people feel better about what is currently a very dehumanizing experience.